On December 11, 2020, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) adopted a new policy prioritizing racial and economic equity when making regional decisions about highway interchanges. NOACA is the first metropolitan planning organization (MPO) in the state to require this level of analysis for proposed highway interchange projects. Previously, decisions were made primarily focused on the impact of traffic flow and safety; with the new policy, consideration will be given to economic development, environmental justice, quality of life, transit and bike use, and racial equity.
This new policy follows decades of highway additions and expansions that encouraged suburban and exurban sprawl at the expense of the urban core - a practice that is often cited as a contributing factor to the region's racial segregation, persistent economic inequality, generational urban poverty, and struggling school systems.
Many supporters of the policy believe it is long overdue - and hope it will lead to greater cooperation to strengthen the region as a whole, rather than pitting communities against each other in competition for jobs and new development. Others question the practicality of any continued suburban expansion given the region's flat population growth.
Join us as three regional leaders discuss the policy and its short- and long-term implications for the future of Northeast Ohio.
The livestream will be available beginning at 12 p.m. Have questions? Tweet them at @TheCityClub or send a text to 330.541.5794.